Here's a good little explanation from Paul McFedries Word Spy:
"You're not really spending money when you spend money, Joe and Vicki say. You're spending the life energy you put into earning that money. You only have so much life energy. What do you want to use it for? Commuting? Shopping sprees? Going for walks? Playing with your children? Serving your community? Taking that question seriously does wonders for one's joy-to-stuff ratio, decreasing stuff, increasing joy.—Donella H. Meadows, "One woman's search for the American dream," The News & Record, July 17, 1995
Whee! Good stuff. I have been really turned off by reading accounts of people who join The Compact or embark on some other similar plan to reduce traditional consumption standards, then spend the next year of their lives complaining about the lack of iced mochas and new jeans in their lives! It's not about martyrdom or being miserable...it's supposed to free you from worrying about superfluous crap! (Please raise your hand if you love the scene in Father of The Bride where Steve Martin has a meltdown about superfluous buns).
What I have learned thus far, and what I intend to stick to is:
1. I can make, reuse, or extend the life of a great many things at home if I just take the time. Example: my fancypants Lush shampoo bar fell apart. Instead of smooshing it down the drain or starting a new bar just yet, I cut up a bath poof/puff/thing that someone gave me as a gift and made a little shampoo bar bag. Yay!!
2. I can think about how long it takes me to earn the cost of an item, and then see if it's worth it to me. Example: I needed more cloth napkins to make it through the week at our house without washing like a maniac. Ebay or garage sales for a bunch of used cloth napkins is certainly more eco-friendly and budget-friendly than either buying cloth napkins new or plowing through untold rolls of paper towels (no, no, no!). Taking the time to find some old scraps of fabric in my cabinet and cut nice square napkins= even better.
3. I still love Etsy with a fiery passion, but have realized that I do not need to order something adorable and wonderful every single week. Etsy, outside of homemade treats, is still gonna be my go-to for nice gifts.
Lastly for today, being thoughtful about your money and deliberate in your choices does not, repeat DOES NOT, mean you have to be boring. I love creating a colorful, comfortable, fun, good-smelling, moderately rebellious, and love-ful life. Cultivating a diehard respect for people (myself included), animals, and the environment only makes it all better.